Bike committee strives for two-wheeler safety

Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent
Committee chair Al Musico, center, addresses members and city staff. The city's Bike Path Ad-Hoc Committee met Friday, June 8, at City Hall.

Photo by LANCE SHEARER

Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent Committee chair Al Musico, center, addresses members and city staff. The city's Bike Path Ad-Hoc Committee met Friday, June 8, at City Hall.

Lexey Swall/Staff
Bobbi Housley, 78, heads out on a bike ride near Cottonwood Court on Marco Island with her 4-year-old Pomeranian, Sugar. The Bike Path Committee met on June 8 to discuss the top eight dangers presented by bicycling. According to city project manager Jim Miller, work on safety enhancements for island cyclists is moving forward.

Photo by Lexey Swall

Lexey Swall/Staff Bobbi Housley, 78, heads out on a bike ride near Cottonwood Court on Marco Island with her 4-year-old Pomeranian, Sugar. The Bike Path Committee met on June 8 to discuss the top eight dangers presented by bicycling. According to city project manager Jim Miller, work on safety enhancements for island cyclists is moving forward.

'Cycle' of life –

Bike committee strives for two-wheeler safety

Riding a bicycle can be good for your health. Riding a bicycle can also be hazardous for your health, particularly when "sharing" the roads with cars and trucks.

This dichotomy provides the stimulus for the City of Marco Island's Bike Path Ad Hoc Committee, attempting to increase the opportunities for healthful cycling, and create conditions to minimize the unhealthy consequences of bicycle/vehicle mishaps.

As part of the bike path committee's meeting on Friday, June 8, city project manager Jim Miller presented a list of the top eight dangers presented by bicycling, along with suggestions for how best to alleviate them. Number one on the list is "vehicles not yielding to pedestrians at signal intersections and stop signs." Counter measures include publicity via newspaper and signage, along with warnings or tickets from the police force.

Number two, "cyclists traveling the wrong direction in bike lanes," comes back to fault of the cyclist. Of the eight specific dangers listed, four were attributable to cyclist error, two to motorists, and two to pedestrians, who can find themselves on the short end of a bicycle/walker or bicycle/runner collision.

One venue to get out the word on how to ride your bicycle without becoming an accident statistic will be coming up in August. Once again, the city will sponsor a "Bike Rodeo" on August 14 at Mackle Park. Number three on the list of dangers was cyclists (children) under 16 riding bikes without helmets, and free helmets will be given out, supplies permitting, at that event.

Public Works Director Tim Pinter popped his head into the Niles Conference Room briefly at the meeting's beginning, and provided his input on additional funding available in succinct fashion.

"This is my report," said Pinter, holding up his thumb and forefinger to make a zero – no additional money available. But work on safety enhancements for island cyclists is moving forward, explained Miller, particularly the Safe Routes to School project designed to provide better bicycle access to island schools.

After five years, phase one of the project is getting underway, after City Council awarded a contract for the job to Marquee Development. Phase two design work is complete, and awaiting funding through the Florida DOT, with construction anticipated in 2013. The committee discussed including the Marco Island Academy site on SR 92 in Safe Routes to School.

Committee member Phil Kostelnik spoke of the need to fund continuing maintenance.

"It's penny wise and pound foolish to spend millions to build roads, and then give the (public works) director no money to maintain them," he said. Miller said that nationally, 10 to 15 percent of road construction dollars go to pathways and bicycle-related projects, and Marco Island is at 13 percent, "so we're doing okay."

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Comments » 7

Throat_Yogurt writes:

YOU'VE GOT TO BE F'ING KIDDING ME.

THERE ARE NO DANGERS TO RIDING A BIKE IF YOU ARE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS, CAN MANEUVER A BIKE PROPERLY AND DON'T PUT YOUR DOGS IN THE DAM BASKET!

happy6 writes:

AMEN THROAT....this is about the craziest crap i've ever seen...and the old girl...i see her everyday...weaving and ducking with her d--n dog in the basket....these people have become as bad as the tree huggers....you see them riding 4 abreast down the roadways...and they refuse to move over..run over 'em.

marco826 writes:

I came to a stop sign on Giralda to make a right turn on Bald Eagle. Instinctively, I looked left for coming traffic. As I looked right, a guy and gal on two different bikes zoomed in front of my car which was inching forward. they had come on the sidewalk and on the wrong side of the road traffic pattern wise. I got a look from hell as they swerved by. I agree, some bike riders think they own the road here. Marco is conducive to riding bikes but riders need to be more diligent in their own safety when confronting cars. Common sense says they need to take the lead in good judgement when approaching any vehicle. This twosome sped along the sidewalk without slowing down and crossed right in front of me at full speed. It could have been ugly.

marconed writes:

Bike paths are a joke. They put them in on Marco Lake Dr.Everyone still walks and rides their bicycles on the road.I dare you to take a drive there after dark.You see riders and walkers in dark clothes with no lights on.Why are headlights and taillights not required?

cyberk9doc writes:

Can someone please tell me the rules for riding a bike on a bike path vs the sidewalk? I walk on the sidewalk on San Marco and just about get run over with bicycles when 20 feet away is a bike lane on the edge of the road. Thx

captnjimbo writes:

in response to marco826:

I came to a stop sign on Giralda to make a right turn on Bald Eagle. Instinctively, I looked left for coming traffic. As I looked right, a guy and gal on two different bikes zoomed in front of my car which was inching forward. they had come on the sidewalk and on the wrong side of the road traffic pattern wise. I got a look from hell as they swerved by. I agree, some bike riders think they own the road here. Marco is conducive to riding bikes but riders need to be more diligent in their own safety when confronting cars. Common sense says they need to take the lead in good judgement when approaching any vehicle. This twosome sped along the sidewalk without slowing down and crossed right in front of me at full speed. It could have been ugly.

Marco 826...right on. I am an experienced biker and I have posted on this subject before.

I yield to cars and trucks no matter who has the right of way...and never go in front of a vehicle at a stop sign without solid eye contact with the driver and even then will usually pass to the rear. When you consider the age and condition of many of our local drivers you would think twice about riding down the road...even on the bike lanes. If you are on the sidewalk and have to yield to a walker, what's the big deal?

Good post.

RayNetherwood writes:

How about putting two sidewalk/bikepath bridges on Collier at the bridge where bikers and pedestrians are supposed to cross on a 2 1/2 wide sidewalk on the bridge by Winn Dixie. (talk about a dangerous/hazardous situation)

The existing bridge doesn't need to be torn down, just add the little ones next to the existing. The bikepaths on 30A up in the panhandle used this method and it works fine -- cheaper too!

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